Enfield, Part 2: Reflections on muzzling attack dogs

ENFIELD — There’s an invisible trail in Enfield.  Call it the path of “What-ifs?” leading to “Might-Have-Beens.”  What if the protagonists and antagonists had seized their dilemma as an opportunity?  Potential adversaries might have become partners.  What if the parties saw each other as people who disagree rather than as opponents?  They might have teamed-up, shed their “rights,” and conjured innovative solutions.  What if everyone viewed events through the prism of James 1:19 and 1:26, which counsel listening, and Proverbs 18:17, which counsels weighing all arguments?  The wisdom in those verses light the path to creative conflict resolution and silence verbal knife fights.

As it was, the trail was never taken. 

The verbal knives were wielded and people were hurt.  A lawsuit resulted in winners and losers and a “sexy story” with ill-founded allegations.  A judge decided that graduations could not be held in a Bloomfield Cathedral, smudging its name despite its many contributions to the surrounding community. My first “what if” revolves around those who brought the suite.  They found the Cathedral’s religious imagery offensive.  I understand, but I still ask: Is religious imagery intrinsically “offensive”?  If so, then most literature and art offends you.  Religious thought has informed human thinking from time immemorial.  Perhaps you disagree with it – perhaps you think humanity stands on an evolutionary cusp beyond which it can turn deaf to intellectual primitives like me – but is it offensive?  If so, why not object to pictures of the Dalai Lama smiling from our high school walls?  He is, after all, revered as a Tibetan deity.  How about Gandhi, whom some Hindus regard as Krishna’s latest mouthpiece?  Such offense blinded you from seeing a gleaming gem:  Bloomfield’s First Cathedral is not only a mega church, it is an African American mega church.  Some of that “offensive” art portrays Jesus as black.  Drop your offense.  Admire a successful African American enterprise reaching into Hartford’s north end.  Touch an entirely different but equally American culture from your suburban town’s.  Perhaps you would still object to ceremonies there, but you could have broadened your perspective still and suggested win-win alternatives, such as field trips in which this church becomes one stop into the African American culture.

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